Brighton & Hove

Category Archives: Review

Easter Holiday Fun : Bertram Bunny’s Easter Pirate Adventure trail at Borde Hill Garden

This is our second visit to Borde Hill Garden and I am so in love with this place – I think my kids were getting tired hearing me say how beautiful it is!

We followed the Bertram Bunny’s Easter Pirate Adventure trail and my kids loved it. It was challenging enough for my tweens to enjoy – younger ones will need a bit of help! The Easter trail follows the one-way system and we often felt we had the garden to ourselves despite having plenty of visitors around.

My eldest even admitted it was quite good and that he liked the scenery and plants, which translated from teen-language means it was awesome! The trail is really well thought out with a very nice booklet featuring the special ‘Easter Island Map’ to follow and fun activities that can be done while having a break or at home. 12 hidden treasures have to be found to reveal the secret code which will unlock the prize (I won’t say more!). The Adventure Playground and the grassy area are great places for a pit stop.

While the kids are busy looking for the next yellow ribbon that marks the trail and decoding the clues… parents can take a few minutes here and there to enjoy and admire the beautiful garden. I’d say it’s a win-win!

Bertram Bunny’s Easter Pirate Adventure trail runs until the 17th April, but don’t forget to check the extensive list of events that Borde Hill Garden has to offer, as there is always something interesting going on!

Salt Space – Hove : a review

We were very lucky to visit Salt Space for the first time just as the 3rd wave of restrictions were announced before Christmas and, needless to say, I can’t wait to go back!

I remembered reading an article about salt therapy (also called halotherapy) a few years ago, that it originated in Eastern Europe where they noticed that salt miners, unlike other miners, didn’t suffer from the usual respiratory problems due to the air quality in the mines. So, when I first heard about the existence of the Salt Space in Hove it was on top of my to-visit-list. I don’t have any particular respiratory problems but my colds tend to turn into painful sinusitis and I have frequent eczema on my eyelids.

We arrived 10 minutes before our session and Julie from Salt Space explained to us that salt has anti-inflammatory (helping reduce inflammation which can strain our immune system) as well as anti-bacterial (stops the growth and kills the bacteria) properties. She also went through what will happen during our session : a generator will blow fine particles of salt into the room; the lights will be dimmed and will then turn back to normal when the session is over. She also pointed out that it is totally normal if we are coughing, or having a runny nose as the excess mucus is being expelled.

Before we went in, Julie asked my boys if they wanted to watch something in particular during the session and they made their choice. It is worthwhile mentioning here that children over 6 months old are welcome to Salt Space and can benefit from salt therapy. The family room usually has toys to entertain the little ones but, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, they had to be removed however young visitors are welcome to bring their own.

Dressed with our head and shoe cap (to keep the salt room clean) we were ready to do some deep breathing and have some down time. It was indeed extremely relaxing! We all had a bit of a salty taste in our mouth and the boys had a runny nose (though their cold had ended a while ago). What I really noticed is where I usually have eczema, my skin was much smoother (and no longer itchy) and this lasted for about 5 days, which was amazing.

I can’t wait to go back to Salt Space, maybe without the kids this time – for a full relaxing experience 😉 but I am also looking forward to taking my eldest son for a few sessions in late spring, as he suffers from hay fever and I hope it might give him some relief.

Salt Space is located on Portland Rd Hove and will re-open on the 12 April, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. If you are driving, there are plenty of parking options, in front of Salt Space or in the neighbourhood (permit parking between 11am-noon, but please double check). If you want to book a free (first) session or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Julie on 01273 973843, she is very approachable and very knowledgeable.

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📷 Brighton & Hove Family Grapevine

ROALD & BEATRIX: THE TAIL OF THE CURIOUS MOUSE,
will air on Sky One at 8.15pm on Christmas Eve and will be available on streaming service NOW TV.

Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse is based on the true story of an unlikely meeting between two of Britain’s most beloved children’s authors, one dealing with the pressures of success and aging, the other a child learning to navigate grief and loss in a confusing adult world. When we meet Beatrix Potter she is an established author whose books have made her a household name, but recognition and fame sit awkwardly with her, and she seems happier working on her farm than on the new hit book that her publishers are demanding in time for the lucrative Christmas market. Meanwhile, she stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that her eyesight isn’t all it was, much to the frustration of husband William.

Meanwhile a six-year old Roald Dahl is reeling from the loss of his sister and father in the same year, and is horrified by the thought of being “sent away” from his fun, loving mother to the boarding school that his late dad was determined he should attend. An avid reader with a vivid imagination, he seeks refuge in the world of stories – especially those of a certain Ms. B Potter. When everything gets too much for Roald, it’s only natural that the fantasy world of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck is where he attempts to flee away to, striking out for the idyllic farm shown in Beatrix’s illustrations. Roald doesn’t get too far before his mum catches up with him, but she wisely recognises that he needs an adventure more than a telling-off, and the two of them set out together to find Beatrix Potter – or Mrs. Healiss, as she loudly insists that everyone calls her.

Meanwhile, having finally succumbed to an eye test, Beatrix looks like losing the battle with her publisher as well, who is demanding that her new book have a happy ending – meaning the Three Blind Mice will make friends with the farmer’s wife, instead of having their tales chopped off by her! Roald and Beatrix’s meeting changes them both, giving them the confidence to move through their sadness and frustration – and it helps set Roald on the path to follow in his idol’s footsteps. It turns out that Beatrix is not quite as fierce as she pretends, and that Roald is braver than he thought.

Roald and Beatrix will entertain and amuse, but it also gives families and individuals the chance to reflect – on the power of stories to help us grow, and on the relationships and encounters that help us move through the hardest parts of our life, when we feel deeply sad or irreversibly ‘stuck’. As a uniquely difficult year draws to a close, this charming story might just open a door for you to rediscover some hope of your own.

Click on the link to download extra background info, a quiz on the movie, discussion questions and activity ideas to get you writing like Roald or Beatrix: R&B_Readers Guide_v3


 

Wahaca Brighton – Street Mexican food | a review (Nov 2, 2020)

Friday I was lucky enough to take my 12 year old son for meal at Wahaca Brighton. I always try to fit in a one-to-one when I can as I think it helps cement our relationship. He loves Mexican food so it was fairly easy to unglue him from the screen 😉 during half term.

We had a lovely lunch at Wahaca, where we sampled some gorgeous and tasty food. We both went for some tacos with some side orders. Their guacamole has been rated as the best by my 12 year old – who is quite an expert! We played the guessing game, trying to spot what went into Wahaca’s guacamole to try to replicate it 😉.

Wahaca is such a joyful & welcoming place and had some extra decoration for the celebration of the Day of the Dead [special celebration week will be running this week]. The staff were very helpful and friendly – even my son commented how nice they were. It is a lovely place to take the family out. They have a great children’s menu with a choice of tacos or quesadillas designed for up to 8 years old, and have colouring & games to keep the younger ones busy. The seating is spread out to ensure social distancing but it still feels very intimin & cosy.

However, Wahaca is much more then gorgeous food and a lovely place to dine. It is an eco-conscious restaurant. It sources it product in a sustainable way, which is becoming a very important criterion when choosing to dine out. Their meats are British, free range/grass fed, their fish are MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) sustainable and more than 50% of their menu is plant-based (sourced seasonally & organic). Wahaca is working hard to reduce its carbon footprint, using renewable energy and introducing innovative ways to reduce its environmental impact (heating water with the heat generated by their fridges/freezers, demand driven ventilation system & sensor lighting), they also have a zero-waste management policy where their food waste is converted in biogas & compost.

As we move to the Lockdown 2.0, if there is one place to visit before Thursday shutdown, visit Wahaca! and remember that Wahaca Brighton will be available for takeaway and via Deliveroo over the lockdown period.


 

Borde Hill Garden – The Garden Of Imagination Trail
Kids SUMMER FUN | 18th July to 13th September, 10am -5pm

We explored Borde Hill’s Garden of Imagination Trail filled with mystical creatures, fairies, unicorns, trolls, magic potions… and some fun challenges, all while exploring the beautiful and diverse setting of Bode Hill Garden.

 

The kids had lots of fun and the adults were able to take time (yes time!) to enjoy the stunning views and gardens. The flowers were amazing – and the smell, just phenomenal. The trail was well sign posted following the fairies – well we did miss the first 2 activities, too busy looking at the gardens! but did them at the end.

The social distancing measures are well established: your entry to the garden and trail have to be booked online and any payment (cf. cafe) are card only. The trail is organised as an one-way-system which worked really well. The cafe and gift shop (mask compulsory from the 24th July) are open, however the children’s Adventure Playground (with the amazing zipwire) and ice cream kiosk (by the playground) are still currently closed, but hopefully will be opening soon.

We stopped for a light lunch at the cafe and enjoyed a well deserved ice cream 😉. After that the kids had fun just running around on the large grassy area. At the end of the trail (on the way out) the kids were able to pick up their price – a nice sustainable one, but shhh🤫 I will not spoil the surprise!

It is important, before you head off, to book your entry slot (every 30min) and to make note of the road closure and diversion (follow the ‘Borde Hill Garden Open’ signs).

For more information check Borde Hill Garden website, here.

LONG NOSE PUPPETS PRESENT: OUT OF THE HAT – a fantastic family show

I took two six year olds and a one year old along to watch the Long Nose Puppet Show: Out Of The Hat and was charmed by how sweet and innocent the whole production was. The story line is very cute, two birds Doris and Delilah wake up to find something magical and sparkly has fallen from the sky and are inspired to put on a magic show for their friends. Along the way they encounter some fantastic characters who help them to create their dream performance.

After the show I asked my son what he thought about the whole performance and he said “friendship and magic”. And to be fair, that’s a pretty good summary!

The 45 minute show is full of delightful songs, which seemed to captivate EVERY child in the room. The entire sound track is unique to the show and is available to purchase – considering how hypnotising it was, every parent should own one!

All the supporting characters were lovely. Their costumes were fun and songs really reflected their parts. I personally thought the frogs and grumpy stick insect were the best.

Considering how all the children zoned out, it was fab to see Komedia offered a fully stocked bar and snacks – a perfect treat for parents. The room is lovely and safe, only one way in and out, so a perfect blend to offer some much needed R&R after a busy day of shopping. The only downside was the heat. The room was so hot. I was really uncomfortable in my nice warm jumper, but thankfully the children didn’t seem to mind.

After the show the talented puppeteers brought out some of the puppets for all to see and touch. It left such a magical feel. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would recommend it. £32 for a family of 4 feels like great value.

The show states it’s relevant for all children, especially 2-8 year olds – but I think my 6 year old son is at the top end. My one and a half year old loved it, and I was so pleased and relaxed to feel the whole audience didn’t care about a bit of noise or movement. You can get there 30 mins before it starts and we didn’t feel rushed out. All in all, a wonderful experience. 5 stars all the way.

Christmas family fun with a free grotto, Christmas markets, shows, circus, rides, cinema experience, a huge observation wheel and the Magical Ice Kingdom, plus themed bars for the grown-ups and lots of food choices. It’s even complete with the UK’s largest outdoor Ice Rink.

Even Scrooge would struggle to not enjoy the magical Christmas vibe within Hyde Park’s Wonderland of fun and cheer. Entry is free and its open from 10am to 10pm daily. As soon as it gets dark you’ll be blown away the magical Christmas lights and by day you’ll struggle not to get in the spirit as you absorb the beautiful Christmas market and festive tunes.

This is a true family-friendly day out. We went from 10am to 6pm and run out of time. There are rides galore to keep adults and children of all ages happy. There are gentle rides and attractions for children as young as two, with thrilling rollercoasters for teens. Most of the site is buggy-friendly (with buggy parks), the floors are covered with boards to stop mud flowing and there are baby-changing facilities at various toilets. There could be more facilities available, do expect to queue.

This year the Magical Ice Kingdom presents an ‘Enchanted Forest’ – an immersive walk through experience filled with ice and snow sculptures. It can get pretty chilly in here a frosty -10C (14F), but it’s worth the chill. The sculptures are mind-blowing, you’ll be amazed by their detail. Don’t worry about the cold, just remember you’re never far away from a mulled wine or a hot chocolate!

From chips to traditional German meals, there is so much food choice, you’ll definitely find something to suit all the family. I was surprised how reasonably priced all the food is. A massive plain hotdog was £4 and stuffed my fussy eater for hours.

The shows are incredible. We started the day by watching the Teletubbies. 45 minutes of action packed fun which kept my 6 year old and 1 year old fully entertained. The only drama was when they wanted a flashy light toy – £12 each. Ouch!

The Snowman cinema experience was something else. We’ve all seen the film, but this was totally different. 45 minutes of a fully immersive experience. Adults will relive our childhood experiences and kids will be fully entertained. Feeling the wind from their flight and smelling the trees from the wood gives such a magical twist on the whole experience.

Just be prepared to spend! Individually the events aren’t that expensive; a family Ice Skating session is £38, as is the Zippo Circus. The rides start at £2 and go up and up. We went on one roller coaster that was £9 each. So, like I said, be prepared to spend!

Also, make sure you book for the shows and attractions before you go. They get fully booked quickly and really make the day special and unique. I can’t recommend this place enough. The rides are expensive, but worth it and queues can be long. But as long as you are armed with snacks, the kids will love it. My first time there was amazing, a real unique way to kick-start Christmas.

With the cold, dark days drawing in it’s getting harder to make sure we get the little ones out everyday; let alone ensure they have enough exercise. That’s why structured, fun clubs like Mini Athletics are ideal for 2-7 year olds. Each week has a different theme and promotes different aspects of health and well-being.

I took my nearly 6 year old to the Old Boat Corner Community Centre in Hollingbury on Saturday morning. It was a small class, only 6 children, so there was lots of exercise and the fun never seemed to end!

This week we all went to the circus. The activities we’re completed in pairs and focused on teamwork and fine motor skills. All the equipment is clear, looks new and is bright and colourful. Jess (the Director) and her assistant were jammed packed with energy. They continually interacted with all the children and made all aspects fun, even putting the equipment away was entertaining! They knew the session programme inside and out, so each activity was seamless.

I felt this was a real gem and loved the session. It’s great that both boys and girls play together and the age brackets worked perfectly. You do have to buy the uniform (a light vest) but the classes are very reasonable: £48 for 6 classes, or £88 for 12 weeks.

If you want to know more, visit: www.miniathletics.com or call Jess on 07876023857.

As I entered Easthill Park in Portslade, I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  Their website explains their activities, but I’ve never been to a class like this before.  I was worried my 19 month old son would be too young and hate it.  No one likes a toddler breakdown!  My only experience of this type of learning is thorough my 5 year old son who is lucky enough to have these classes at his school, and he loves them.  He get’s submerged in nature and eagerly awaits the next session.

As I walked into the wilderness I was blown away.  You enter a small forest area and it’s like you walk into a small community.  We walked around the first few stations, which were all carefully set out and he was instantly distracted by the water and mud table.  He loved it!  We stayed there until it was time for a quick music break, where we all met around the strategically placed music area.  You could sit on big or small logs, cushions or the floor.  It was lovely.  You really felt like you were back to nature.

Snack time was amazing, tea and coffee for the biggies and so many different snacks for the little ones.  I was gobsmacked when Simone bought out a small stove and cooked vegan pancakes for everyone.  All the kids (and adults) sat quietly and scoffed these lovely snacks, felling all warm and fuelled for more play.

The classes are affordable, busy and very creative.  They are suitable for all children under 5 and there is lots to do!  For more information or to book yourself into a class, visit: www.beeinthewoods.co.uk

Gina x

 

Wow, just wow. What an amazing experience.  Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures is described as an ‘immersive, interactive theatre experience’.  But it is so much more than that.  It’s a mix of Crystal Maze, Panic Rooms and a theatre production.  There is so much thought, detail and love put into this venture, it really is an amazing, emotional and above all magical experience.

Their slogan ‘Climb aboard a train and explore the world in just an hour’ hits the nail on the head.  You get exactly that, plus a lot of excitement and laughs along the way.  The sets were designed by Craft Work (famous for creating sets for Harry Potter, Star Wars etc) and are just beautiful.  You are submerged into magical lands that are breath-taking and fun.

I was lucky enough to meet the owner Graham Owen and was blown away by his vision and enthusiasm.  He has put everything into this project and you can just feel his love and passion.  When I asked how on earth he managed to create such a different and unique experience, let alone how he physically managed to do it, his answer was clear and passionate.  His vision is simply to help families connect and provide quality time away from screens, work etc.  And he has done just that.

It’s not just an hours experience, the venue has so much more on offer.  There are meeting rooms for hire, the most awe-taking garden to dine and drink in, a games room, even a ladies room.  And so much more.  You’ll be in a group of no more than 12 people, but I can see families, hen-dos, office outings or even single visitors all going and all having fun.  I went alone but quickly felt welcomed and part of a team, it didn’t matter that I walked in solo.

Graham wanted to create an adventure that is unlike anything the public has ever seen before, and he’s nailed it.  His creative genius doesn’t end here, he’s going to create seasonally themed events  which I’m sure will be as detailed, fun and wonderful as the current one.  He told me of his Christmas themed ideas and I can’t wait!

I took photos but I’m not going to share them on here.  It’s such a unique and personal experience I feel it’s cheating if I show you too much; it’s for you to enjoy and experience yourselves.  And I guarantee you will.

The show opens to the public on Sunday in Sussex House, Hollingbury. Visit www.phileasfoggsworldofadventures.co.uk for more details. And enjoy every moment!

Gina x